Need help with alignment confusion

Wheel and tire information and upgrade discussions
BenWA
Posts: 360
Joined: Thu Dec 17, 2015 5:44 pm

Need help with alignment confusion

Postby BenWA » Thu Feb 04, 2016 11:45 pm

Okay, so I got my new tires installed today and as expected, they said I needed an alignment. (But they dropped it to $40 from $90 because I originally rejected it. I guess that should have been a red flag.). The original claim they made was "Oh no!!! all 4 are out of alignment!!!":

Image

That preservice sheet doesn't suggest a 4 wheel alignment (and I somehow didn't notice that). I found an old thread on Genvibe saying there's no rear adjustment on the 2wds without a camber kit? Oreilly shows shims for rear alignment. Shouldn't Sears DO THAT if I paid for an alignment?


Here is the sheet they gave after the alignment was done. It looks as if they didn't adjust the rear....and yet it's FURTHER OUT OF SPEC on the left rear now than it was and right rear is slightly further into spec. HUH?? Sloppy alignment checking??

Image


The receipt in tiny print mixed in with hundreds of other words states "YOUR VEHICLE MAY REQUIRE ADD. PARTS AND/OR LABOR TO COMPLETE YOUR ALIGNMENT SERVICE" but they said nothing about that and I didn't notice that either since I was just ready to go and I was a bit tired and hungry. (That combination totally ruins my judgement, without even realizing I'm in that state). But like I said, shouldn't adding shims be Sears' job if I paid for an alignment to get it in spec? They can't very well pick and choose what they wanna do to get alignment right when they are being paid to do an alignment.

I have a feeling they knew they'd rip me off when I initially rejected alignment saying I'd go to a dealer. Then they dropped it from $90 to $40. That should have been a red flag. Well, I still get free front alignments for 6 months at least.

EDIT: From what I've read, it requires pulling hubs and installing plastic shims cut to fit to correct it. I thought I overheard them talking about that to each other but they never said it to me. I thought they might have been taking about another customer's car brake wise since I heard them talking about pulling drums. I guess I'll have to check around for a real tire shop or just take it to a dealer and have them do it. Ugh. I hate that I threw $40 down the drain though, basically. Maybe the front alignment IS better but now I have to worry about the rear eating up a new tire. I guess I shoulda paid for an alignment first to see where things stood, huh? *sigh*

EDIT 2: Oh, wait, is THIS how they install (basically?): http://www.4130-products.com/step/shim/

If I was sure I'd get it right, I'd do that myself. However, if it's only needed on one side... screw it. I'd rather pay a shop $150 to it to be sure it's done right so i don't ruin a $130 tire. (If it's not already chewed up from 150 miles so far on it).

However! I moved the rear tires to the FRONT because the FRONT ones were badly worn down, so that tells me that perhaps the rear alignment is fine and Sears just got it wrong. I guess I need to find a real, old fashioned tire & alignment shop, or just go to the dealer, and have then do an alignment check with the stipulation that if it's truly out of spec, if they'll consider that fee part of correcting the problem if it needs it (so I don't pay them twice for an alignment check). ugh. This stuff shouldn't be this complicated.

THANKS FOR NOTHING TOYOTA AND/OR GM FOR MAKING THE REAR NONADJUSTABLE!
2003 Vibe Base A/T
Image

tommytipover
Posts: 14
Joined: Sat Nov 07, 2015 1:34 pm
Location: Cleveland, OH

Re: Need help with alignment confusion

Postby tommytipover » Fri Feb 05, 2016 7:57 am

Meh, they set the front toe. Sounds like you got about $40 worth. In my opinion, the rear isn't out far enough to worry about.

BenWA
Posts: 360
Joined: Thu Dec 17, 2015 5:44 pm

Re: Need help with alignment confusion

Postby BenWA » Fri Feb 05, 2016 10:15 am

tommytipover wrote:Meh, they set the front toe. Sounds like you got about $40 worth. In my opinion, the rear isn't out far enough to worry about.


Negative -0.13 (or -0.14) on rear left isn't far off when it should be positive 0.0 to 0.26? (at least according to their sheet)

Oh and perhaps I should post a shot if the paper where it shows the left rear tire (the one that WAS on the left front) being really badly worn out, more than the others. Is that a sign of a bad FRONT alignment, or a sign of a bad REAR alignment?

I may have prematurely replaced the set of tires since but that's water under the bridge at this point. I do find it's less prone to wanting to hydroplane however, based on the 150 mile drive on the old tires, vs the 150 mile drive back on the new ones on the same day.

The new fronts still spin on a wet surface when going up a steep incline when taking off from a stop, but I guess that's somewhat unavoidable around here. Maybe it has to do with old worn out shocks, perhaps the rear sags a little too much and lifts the front off the ground when going up a steep incline? Or I'm just reading too much into it, like I tend to do with everything in the world. :?
2003 Vibe Base A/T
Image

jolt
Posts: 580
Joined: Sun Mar 02, 2014 2:07 am

Re: Need help with alignment confusion

Postby jolt » Sun Feb 07, 2016 6:50 pm

Rear wheel alignment is not very critical when you think about it; most of the weight in a front wheel drive vehicle is on the front wheels. Very little weight makes for very little wear on the tires. If the rear alignment is off a lot, like 1/2" off, you will see wear over time like cupping and/or feathering of the tread but in general rear tires last until they riot out from old age unless you rotate your tires.

Your first mistake was going to Sears for a front end alignment. I could go into a long rant about this but to keep it short, I did that once and never will go there again; and it has been almost 35 years now to think of it. It is pretty safe to say that short of collision damage or running into parking curbs, big pot holes, etc., front wheel alignment on a front wheel drive car can only change because something is worn out. The two biggest items are tie rod ends and lower ball joints. If you find your steering wheel is not lined up straight when you are drive straight down the road, then you have something worn out and needs to be replaced. After replacing the worn out parts a alignment is required to set the toe-in. No camber or caster adjust because front wheel drive cars have none from the factory (there are a few exceptions). There are aftermarket kits that allow some adjustment for some cars but they are only needed to correct damage that is done else where on the car; meaning mounting point changes caused by collision damage, etc.

Who's to say Sears alignment machine is accurate? It makes for a good selling tool to sell work that is not needed. It looks impressive but like all tools, it is only as good as the person using it.

BenWA
Posts: 360
Joined: Thu Dec 17, 2015 5:44 pm

Re: Need help with alignment confusion

Postby BenWA » Mon Feb 08, 2016 8:32 am

I didn't "go to Sears for a front end alignment". I was already there having tires installed. Big difference.
2003 Vibe Base A/T
Image

User avatar
lannvouivre
Posts: 1601
Joined: Thu Jun 09, 2011 1:00 pm
Location: Texas yay

Re: Need help with alignment confusion

Postby lannvouivre » Fri Feb 12, 2016 1:19 am

You should get a second opinion. The rear end alignment has no adjustment because it should never need it. The back end of a FWD Vibe/Matrix/Corolla is a torsion rear suspension setup, so there's not much to it. You've likely got something bent or worn out. I might be able to look at mine tomorrow and see what could cause the toe on rear wheels to be wrong. I'd guess that if the bearing was worn, maybe the wheel would have play in it and just happen to be in the wrong toe when it got checked, but that's all I can even remotely fathom besides a bent part.
"If you don't love me at my diddliest, you don't deserve me at my doodliest." - User ktluvscricket of reddit

User avatar
lannvouivre
Posts: 1601
Joined: Thu Jun 09, 2011 1:00 pm
Location: Texas yay

Re: Need help with alignment confusion

Postby lannvouivre » Fri Feb 12, 2016 1:26 am

BenWA wrote:Here is the sheet they gave after the alignment was done. It looks as if they didn't adjust the rear....and yet it's FURTHER OUT OF SPEC on the left rear now than it was and right rear is slightly further into spec. HUH?? Sloppy alignment checking??

The machines used are really sensitive and as it sits there, if you so much as breathe too aggressively, the readings can change (.01 degrees is basically nothing). The machines use mounted cameras pointed at patterned plates that get clamped to your wheels. Because of how they are, you can have tiny movements of the plates themselves from a breeze etc. As long as nothing is actually damaged, the readings will still always be accurate enough that they won't have any meaningful impact on an alignment.

TL;DR: .01 degrees of chance in the alignment readings is pretty much meaningless.
"If you don't love me at my diddliest, you don't deserve me at my doodliest." - User ktluvscricket of reddit

BenWA
Posts: 360
Joined: Thu Dec 17, 2015 5:44 pm

Re: Need help with alignment confusion

Postby BenWA » Fri Feb 12, 2016 3:52 pm

The 0.01 isn't what concerns me. The 0.10+ does.
2003 Vibe Base A/T
Image

User avatar
Chiadog
Posts: 971
Joined: Thu Aug 09, 2012 9:41 am
Location: Abrams, wisconsin

Re: Need help with alignment confusion

Postby Chiadog » Sat Feb 13, 2016 9:09 am

I had a similar rear alignment problem on My 05 Base when I bought it used. Easily repaired/adjusted with a rear camber kit!
http://www.amazon.com/Moog-K100143-MOOG ... automotive

User avatar
lannvouivre
Posts: 1601
Joined: Thu Jun 09, 2011 1:00 pm
Location: Texas yay

Re: Need help with alignment confusion

Postby lannvouivre » Sat Feb 13, 2016 10:21 am

BenWA wrote:The 0.01 isn't what concerns me. The 0.10+ does.

Where? I see they adjusted the front toe by more than a couple hundredths, but I'm only seeing the rear change by one or two hundredths just sitting on the rack.
"If you don't love me at my diddliest, you don't deserve me at my doodliest." - User ktluvscricket of reddit

BenWA
Posts: 360
Joined: Thu Dec 17, 2015 5:44 pm

Re: Need help with alignment confusion

Postby BenWA » Sat Feb 13, 2016 11:12 am

I don't mean a change of 0.10, i mean simply being off 0.13 to start with.

Go back up and read my other posts... it's far out of spec for the rear on the left side according to their readings.

They didn't adjust the rear. It's not adjustable. It's just a variation in the reading before and after they did the front.
2003 Vibe Base A/T
Image

jolt
Posts: 580
Joined: Sun Mar 02, 2014 2:07 am

Re: Need help with alignment confusion

Postby jolt » Mon Feb 15, 2016 10:35 am

They didn't adjust the rear. It's not adjustable. It's just a variation in the reading before and after they did the front.


You answered your own question that you originally posted or maybe no one here understands what your question is. :)

The right side is toe-in 0.11º, the left side is toe-out 0.13º. This is relative to what? The front wheels, the body, the frame, to each other? If it is to the front wheels then you have toe out of 0.02º between the rear wheels and the car will have a slight dog track at the rear as both rear wheels are pointed slightly to the left of the vehicle. It is so small of an amount that it is not worth worrying about.

If you really want it fixed, you could bend the rear axle to correct the problem or by an aftermarket camber shim and install the shim sideways, which is not what the shim was made for. Either way this is not an adjustment, this is modifying or adding parts which is going to be an additional charge for. Heck you could back your car into a curb on the left rear tire and bend it back yourself or hit the next pot hole and knock it back out again. It is not a big deal, the important thing is how the tires are wearing as I stated before. If you sit in the car, your alignment numbers are going to change. Google "bump steer" and see your toe go crazy as your car goes dynamic and the suspension moves.

Check the factory manual here: http://madstyle1972.com/Repair/27/200qjl01/i740001.pdf

"NOTICE: Before inspecting the wheel alignment, adjust the vehicle height to the specified value."
This will effect the alignment but on the same hand when the ride height is not right what are they to tell you, you need all new springs in your car before we can align it. When the only factory adjustment is the front wheel toe, what can they do without replacing parts? They could block the car up to the proper height and align it then but you you let the car off the blocks and you get back inside the car, all these alignment numbers are going to be off so you gained nothing.

"If the toe–in is not within the specified value, inspect and re-place the suspension parts as necessary."
Which was mentioned above as there is no adjustment for this. This is how most all cars are made. Replace parts or modify parts as needed. You buy a cheap car and corners have to be cut, that is way the car is cheap. The AWD Vibe does have some rear adjustments but that is because it is a totally different rear suspension system.

BenWA
Posts: 360
Joined: Thu Dec 17, 2015 5:44 pm

Re: Need help with alignment confusion

Postby BenWA » Mon Feb 15, 2016 8:24 pm

I don't get why it's so hard to understand what I am saying/asking!!!

But I'll try to simplify it even more:

According to Sears, the specific range for the rear left is 0.00 to +0.26 BUT it's set to -0.13. If that's true, that's far out of spec; by 0.13 beyond the limit of 0.00 in that toe direction. It's out of the spec range by 0.13 degrees. It's 0.13 degrees pointed badly. 0.00 would be the limit in that direction.

I don't think it can possibly be made anymore clear than that. :|

Maybe I'm misunderstanding something, but if I go by the spec range I'm not. The specs call for 0.00 to +0.26 on both sides. Well to be more exact, it says: 0.26 ± 0.26 ....which means 0.00 to +0.52, correct? If something is NEGATIVE (less than 0.00) than it's out of range/spec. So the -0.13 spec is NEGATIVE 0.13 degrees, therefore out of spec.

Unless one side MUST be positive and one side MUST be negative to align? In that case, the specs are screwed up if they tell you PLUS on both sides, which would imply that perfect specs would be +0.26 on BOTH SIDES, not +0.26 on one side and -0.26 on the other.
2003 Vibe Base A/T
Image

User avatar
lannvouivre
Posts: 1601
Joined: Thu Jun 09, 2011 1:00 pm
Location: Texas yay

Re: Need help with alignment confusion

Postby lannvouivre » Sat Feb 27, 2016 11:54 am

If your previous rear tires weren't irregularly worn and your car's handling has not suffered, don't worry about it at this time.

Yes that's a large degree out-of-whack, and the only things that can cause it are damaged or worn parts. The issue you're having is with toe. You can't fix that with the camber shims unless you use them like how jolt described, and like he said, they're not meant to be used like that. You have a toe-out problem, that means that the fronts of the tires are spread out more than they are in the back. Again, this can only be adjusted with the replacement of parts.

If it is causing you a ton of worry, look in to going to an actual mechanic or alignment-specialty shop to get it fixed. Otherwise, like I said, if you're not actually having any issues, just ignore it. I don't know what else to tell you besides that $40 is a totally fine price to have only the front suspension aligned; usually the price is like $50-80.
"If you don't love me at my diddliest, you don't deserve me at my doodliest." - User ktluvscricket of reddit

BenWA
Posts: 360
Joined: Thu Dec 17, 2015 5:44 pm

Re: Need help with alignment confusion

Postby BenWA » Tue Mar 01, 2016 5:21 pm

Some guy from the Sears store called yesterday and said "well it's not adjustable, best we can do is look at it if you bring it in" and I was like "well nevermind about it" and that was that, I thought. I chocked it up to being $40 for the front alignment and oh well. I wasn't going to try to do a chargeback or anything. I had expressed concern about warranty issues of uneven tire wear.

Well, he called again just now. He spoke to some regional manager and they decided they don't have to take any liability for uneven tire wear after selling me tires AND half an alignment with remaining bad toe alignment on one side without even giving me the option to fix it when I picked up teh car or explaining the bad toe mark on the sheet.

Since they can't say if uneven tire wear will happen or not in relation to tire warranty with the out of spec toe on the left rear, so he said they want to refund the $40 to release themselves of tire wear liability related to the alignment. He went on to suggest I take it to a specialty alignment shop who might have more experience than them at alignments. (Yes, he said that..)

This most likely came about because I filed a consumer complaint form online with the state attorney general's office, and they don't want to leave it unresolved in the eyes of the gov.
2003 Vibe Base A/T
Image


Return to “Wheels & Tires”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 0 guests